What's your best advice for getting centered?

It's me, Jen. I need your advice, insights & words of wisdom...

On Monday 6/19 at 12 PT, I’ll reply to my favorite piece of advice in the comments section below & gift that person a $150 Jenny Pennywood shopping spree.

Even if you decide not to comment, you cared enough to stop by & that matters...

Deep Knowing by Jen Garrido, 2022, acrylic on canvas, 52 x 48"
Deep Knowing by Jen Garrido, 2022, acrylic on canvas, 52 x 48"

I'm feeling a little burnt out

This year has felt like a closed loop of circular thinking. It’s like my head is in an orbit I can’t escape. I’m not depressed, but my headspace is spinning. These days (most days), I feel burnt out. Ups & downs are part of my process, so this feeling isn’t so new but I am just so tired of it.

My burnout has a backstory

Let's travel back to the early 2000s. I had just graduated from grad school & was teaching art at a small, private K-8th school. It was an amazing job. Or, it would have been had I loved teaching. I didn’t love teaching, but oddly enough I always thought I’d teach. During those same years I taught, I also waited tables & was an affiliate artist at the Headlands Center for the Arts where I was just beginning my art career. 

After several years of juggling jobs, my art career began to unfold. At 30, I decided to let go of teaching because if I didn’t try to do art full time, would I ever? It was the right choice. I think. My career was up & running until 2008 arrived & the economy crashed. Suddenly, the relationships I had worked so hard to build ended due to one thing or another. So, I decided to create Jenny Pennywood as a way to explore textile design. Fast forward to today & it’s as though I’ve been living a double life & hustling ever since the crash. 

My deep desire to recenter

Recently, it dawned on me that for 20 years & counting (essentially my entire adult life), I’ve been incredibly persistent in setting goals & assigning myself tasks with the simple intent of getting somewhere. In many ways, this has been an organic unfolding marked by key moments in time where things seemed to be coming together. But if I’m being honest, I’ve mostly struggled along the way.

Fast forward to today & it’s 2023. Here I sit, drowned in a deep desire to recenter. But, what’s next? 

I love the work I do, I love Jenny Pennywood & I certainly love painting. In fact, I always want to paint more. I’m cool with the struggle in some ways, but I would rather it be a side dish rather than the main course.

What's on the other side of the struggle?

Have you ever been stuck? How did you climb out? What was your key turning point? Is there a version of life on the other side of the struggle, where there’s still struggle, but not so much? Comment below & share your story, struggle, words of wisdom, best advice, tools, habits or something else altogether that you think I should know. Whatever it is, I want to hear about it. Thank you for caring. XO, Jen

Share your advice in the comments section below by Monday 6/19, Noon PT. Best advice wins a $150 shopping spree because why not add a little sweetness to the misery?!


  • John-Scott Forester says...

    I worked at a university for many years and enjoyed the creative aspect of working with engaged art students. I was able to work 10 months a year, taking 2 months off every summer. Often I would sleep for the first week of vacation, totally exhausted. Then I would go camping, visit friends, do all of the deferred maintenance. Then it would be back to work too soon. But I felt recharged for another academic year. After I retired I started to figure out what it was that I needed and wanted. I finally started my home yoga practice, built things in the shop just for me, enjoyed working in the garden, cooking and entertaining. Finding and noticing what it took to be in balance. We are so programed to be PRODUCTIVE. We are constantly reminded that we have to KEEP UP! And in this time we do need to make a living. And when every day seems like the start of a 10 hour sprint it’s really hard to access what’s important. It’s easy to say FUCK IT! I’m going to __________. There are resources, spaces, practices, that are available. Just ask around. Carve out more personal time for art, reading, whatever YOU desire. Find a coach so your business runs more efficiently. Go on a retreat. And know that you have so much support from those of us in your circle, reach out.

  • velika says...

    Acupuncture with a licensed acupuncturist. A lot of things we think of as thought-based are actually somatic, and can be treated energetically.

    I live in SF and can recommend a fantastic person. You don’t have to pay me! I am glad to share, I love your work! 🖤

  • velika says...

    Acupuncture with a licensed acupuncturist. A lot of things we think of as thought-based are actually somatic, and can be treated energetically.

    I live in SF and can recommend a fantastic person. You don’t have to pay me! I am glad to share, I love your work! 🖤

  • Salamander says...

    I am not an artist. I make things. I’m crafty. But I don’t actually have something I need to say through art, so my advice might not be for you. But early in the pandemic I hit a real burnout wall. I had had a series of high profile roles in my field. I was part of these networks of powerful, accomplished women. And I could not make myself care about anything, let alone hustle. I had been handed a high pressure, high visibility job on a silver platter (drama, not of my doing, culminating in my boss quitting) and emphatically did not want it. I got a lot of congratulations and attention. People were so happy for me. Did not want. I found someone who wanted the job and I asked what I really wanted from my job: I wanted to make money, I wanted to not be stressed out. I didn’t need it to be my whole identity, I didn’t need a lot of public accolades. I needed to pay the mortgage and have dinner with my family. Get my kid to school. Make time to sew and ski and hike. And I didn’t totally nail it, but I guess my advice here is that art can be a passion project. You can have a job that pays the bills that you’re good at because you’re smart and skilled, and that job doesn’t have to be your passion. It can be something you walk away from at the end of the day.

    For me, it was looking around at a lot of admin/clerical roles that I’d been raised to scorn (there is a lot to unpack there, I know; trust that I’m working on that) and realizing that I’m good at that shit. My filing system is unstoppable. And it pays just fine.

    It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

  • Nina Gordon says...

    Hi! Thank you for sharing your experience. I’m going to share 5 things that have helped me.
    When I realized I wanted a career change I did The Artists Way workbook. It was good for me to have some structure with such a big question as ‘What am I going to do if I make a career change.’ I was too in my head and the book provided concrete tasks such as morning pages. I decided I’m going to follow this book exactly how she suggests to the end and see what happens. It was life changing for me. I went from being a social worker to a business owner.

    - When I have a hard time letting go of a thought I say as many times as needed: “God/Spirit I turn my fear about my job over to you and I release it with love.” This is just an example. I use it for any situation when I’m ruminating. - I have a therapist I talk things through with. 4 – I did a year of the To Be Magnetic program and found that very interesting and strengthened my muscle identifying my true authentic self and passions. 5 – I go to Alanon. If any addiction in the family I suggest this. It set me free from old thinking, fear and self defeating behaviors that developed when I was young.
    I wish you all the best on your journey!
    You are such a great writer and a great creative mind and heart.

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